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Old 02-08-2008, 05:46 PM   #1
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To tow or not to tow...that is the question.

Ok, here goes a good one.

My wife will be doing some of the driving on our trips. She can not handle the size of my F-250 4wd 7.3 monster. Well, she is scared to kill someone with it. Plus she hates stick shift.

She wants to pull with her little toy. (I will admit I love the truck too, just don't tell her.) It is a 1994 GMC Yukon 1500(K) 2 door, with a 5.7 TBI HO (new crate) and a 4 spd auto. I have towed with this truck before and it did just fine until the transmission fried on me 600 mile from home.

I just don't like the tail wagging the dog thing. I don't know if it will happen with a 31' AS. It is an older one that weights in at 5500#. I just wonder if she will deal with the sway if it happens. We do have the reese hitch with WD and anti-sway. The last thing I pulled with this was a 24' Shasta that weighed around 6500# and had a 710# tounge weight.

TW on this would be a lot less, but still the question of sway.

Anyone ever towed one of these with one of these? Just need some info. To help her stick with the big dogs.
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkendall
Ok, here goes a good one.

My wife will be doing some of the driving on our trips. She can not handle the size of my F-250 4wd 7.3 monster. Well, she is scared to kill someone with it. Plus she hates stick shift.

She wants to pull with her little toy. (I will admit I love the truck too, just don't tell her.) It is a 1994 GMC Yukon 1500(K) 2 door, with a 5.7 TBI HO (new crate) and a 4 spd auto. I have towed with this truck before and it did just fine until the transmission fried on me 600 mile from home.

I just don't like the tail wagging the dog thing. I don't know if it will happen with a 31' AS. It is an older one that weights in at 5500#. I just wonder if she will deal with the sway if it happens. We do have the reese hitch with WD and anti-sway. The last thing I pulled with this was a 24' Shasta that weighed around 6500# and had a 710# tounge weight.

TW on this would be a lot less, but still the question of sway.

Anyone ever towed one of these with one of these? Just need some info. To help her stick with the big dogs.
I think that the question is what is the wheelbase of the Yukon? Don't forget the tow vehicle of choice in the 1970's was a passenger car. If you have a wheelbase of 125" or so you should be fine. My Lincoln has a wheelbase of 127"

Bill
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:39 PM   #3
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I used to tow with a single cab truck and no sway or weight distribution. Then I changed my axles and put on new tires. Then I had sway. Then I bought a WD hitch, and it solved the problem. It does tow much nicer with my longer wheel base extended cab, and on short trips (under 50 miles) I do not use the WD.

That being said, I think you will have sway problems with a short wheelbase 2 door Yukon. I don't think I would do it, even with WD and sway. But that's just me.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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Adapting!

Women can and do drive semi's, tractors, and cement trucks.

I was very intimidated by my big 2500 Suburban towing a 22 CCD when I first got them, but practice makes perfect.... and practice made me perfectly happy to be driving the big 'burb.

I upgraded to a Chevy Silverado diesel 2500 long bed quad cab this year without batting an eye.

Convince your wife to drive the big truck without towing... pick low traffic times and just go to an all night Walmart, or out to dinner or for a ride in the country. Let her do it for two to three weeks on a daily or near daily basis and she'll be fine. Be patient, and take a six inch piece of duct tape to remind you to be as uncritical as possible. (The SECOND worst thing she can do with duct tape is put it on your LIPS.)

Time, patience and persistence will make the big truck seem to fit like a glove.

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Old 02-08-2008, 11:13 PM   #5
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I think she would be happier learning to drive the big truck, than white-knuckling it with the little one. 31 ft is a LOT of trailer to put behind a yukon!
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:19 PM   #6
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TK, I see your dilemma. We used a '95 2-door Tahoe 4WD to tow our '72 Sovereign for a short while before getting an F350 7.3L PSD CC SWB. Fortunately we never had any close calls with the Tahoe, but it wasn't a great combo. The standard TBI 5.7 w/3.73 axle felt very underpowered on any hill and we stuck pretty close to home here in the midwest. Passing trucks would create an uncomfortable wiggle despite a Reese dual cam AND friction sway control. My wife hated that feeling in particular. I did not feel the Tahoe's brakes were probably not adequate sized for even the vehicle solo. I used to frequent various forums and many members were upgrading braking systems and also having problems with cooking the rear diffs from towing.

You've got a dilemma. One the one hand you've got a great tow vehicle, but it's a stick. I know how my wife hates them, so towing a trailer AND driving a manual would definitely be out of the question for her. You've got another less than optimal tow vehicle that she's more comfortable driving solo, BUT, it might also 'poison' her initial towing experience just as much to feel the 'tail wagging the dog' so to speak.

The one nice thing 'bout the 2dr Tahoe was the improved turning radius over the Ford Superduty (the older 7.3's like my 2000 have leaf springs up front...it's like turning the Queen Mary with a 31' trailer behind you).

If it were me, I'd suggest the Ford, though, for your safety and piece of mind.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:43 PM   #7
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I am glad almost everyone agrees with me. On the Yukon. It was original police truck and is not the normal 5.7. It does have a lot more beef under the hood, and when I towed the shorter, but heavier trailer, it had more than ample power for hills and such. On the brakes, they are as big as you could get with the police package. I found that out when I first had them changed...very expensive. But I did opt for the ceramics. I am going to have her read these things and see what happens.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:13 AM   #8
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I have two schools of thought..

I will support Paula in that encourage your wife to drive the big truck. We can do anything if we put our minds to it - and of course support and confidence from our other halves or friends is pinnacle to our success. Depending on what you are loading up on the 5500# dry weight - she could be pushing upwards of 6500# if not more. That is pushing your total weight rating way up to its limit if fully loaded on a serious trip.

Now I have towed or 26' Overlander with or 99 Yukon/Tahoe - and with the 4x4 option that gives me less towing capacity by 500# She was never really loaded up with fluids or "junk" that we all carry in our trailers. I did not have any problems pulling her in the Vermont mountains/hills or keeping up with your interstate speeds and she did just fine on the 401 as well. The brakes in this Yukon are massive!!!

You can have all the power in the world and don't fool yourself you can still get into white knuckle situations if you are not confident in your own driving abilities. Never let a big truck give you a false sense of safety.

So perhaps learning to tow with a smaller vehicle on short trips to get used to the trailer and then moving to the larger truck and trailer combination might be a great compromise and a slow confidence building process. She will feel the stability of the Tahoe compared to the larger truck and she will settle with what she feels more comfortable with - woman are sensible to you know....the larger more stable truck will win out. And it is just nice that she has a choice - some of us don't. (hence no more than 26' tee hee)

I think there is enough roads that you would probably be able to get in some good practice without having to go on the interstate to begin with. So the 31 and Tahoe should do fine. The truck is not set up to stop your trailer - the trailer brakes are.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:40 AM   #9
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I think that some practice towing with the BIG truck is in order.... but first things first.

Your sweetie needs to get comfortable with the stick. Try swapping vehichles for a week. And... don't offer any advice about how to drive the truck - don't ride with her, don't criticise, nothing. If it gets dinged, smile and remember that the payoff is a good camping season.

After she is comfortable with it as a daily driver, then try some easy towing. But first teach her to hitch up. Make sure she understands how the brake controller works, teach her how to unhitch and set up. Help her learn, but don't do it for her - walk her through it letting her do the work. Do it every night until she is comfortable - make it a date and make it fun.

It can be really daunting to drive your husbands beloved truck and do something he can do better - especially when he is watching. Imagine if the roles were reversed. When towing school is finally over she will be more confident and you will have a towing partner.





Quote:
Originally Posted by tkendall
I am glad almost everyone agrees with me. On the Yukon. It was original police truck and is not the normal 5.7. It does have a lot more beef under the hood, and when I towed the shorter, but heavier trailer, it had more than ample power for hills and such. On the brakes, they are as big as you could get with the police package. I found that out when I first had them changed...very expensive. But I did opt for the ceramics. I am going to have her read these things and see what happens.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:41 AM   #10
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Hi, I would think the Tahoe would be marginal just for the fact that it is a two door. [short vehicle, short wheel base] So I would leave that option out. Next, before you tow a trailer with a stick shift truck, you need to be proficient just driveing with a stick shift by it's self. For some of the ladies, [my wife included] towing is a man's job and not all women [or men] are capable of handleing a truck and trailer. [or want to] If your wife is up to it, stick and all, go for it. You can hit the trailer brakes from the passenger side if necessary.
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Old 02-09-2008, 05:31 AM   #11
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We had a 2 door Tahoe traded in a few years ago. We kept it for about 3 months and towed with it quite a bit. If the shocks are in good shape and the tires are not excessively large and you use a Hensley it will work very well. You should also have an external transmission cooler. I would suggest you put synthetic fluids in the rear axle and transmission whether you tow with it or not.

One big advantage is that you will be able to squeeze into campsites that you could not dream of getting into with the Pick up.

Do you know what kind of shocks you have? What size tires do you have? If you don't have an exhaust brake on the 7.3 you will actually have a lot more engine braking when going down hill with the Tahoe.

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